Bob Bestler

There’s a small spot in my heart for the Steelers, my old team from back in the day

The ninth-grade St. Mary's Steelers. Halfback Bob Bestler is in the back row, second from left.
The ninth-grade St. Mary's Steelers. Halfback Bob Bestler is in the back row, second from left. Submitted photo

Open letter to Bob Suchy, president of the Grand Strand Swingers Golf Association:

Dear Bob,

I’m not sure you know it, but I’ve always been impressed by your passion for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Did I say passion? Heck, you put the fan in fanatic, the looney in lunatic. (Just kidding about that last one, Mr. President.)

I like how you had a big black “Steelers” body-painted on your new pickup. It looks great.

I like the customized Steelers golf cart you use to zip around North Myrtle Beach.

I like your Steeler apparel – the socks, the shirts, the skivvies, all nicely Steeler logoed. None of that Kohl’s stuff.

I’ve never been to your home, but fellow Swingers tell me the décor, throughout, is modern-day Steeler logo.

The reason I’m writing, Bob, is to tell you (and the world) that I’m a sort of closet Steeler fan myself – and I’ve never even been to Pittsburgh.

Heck, I can do you one better: I was once a Steeler myself. Yes, you read that correctly. I was a Steeler. Match that, Big Guy.

When I was in ninth grade at St. Mary’s Catholic School – the top grade in our little school – it was decided that we should form a football team and play eighth- and ninth-graders in other Catholic schools in southern Minnesota.

I think the idea was dreamed up by a cabal of priests, who put together a home-and-away schedule.

We ordered uniforms – green, in honor of a big Catholic school named Notre Dame. Naturally, the Fighting Irish were the nuns’ favorite team and I’ve always been partial, too.

Next we had to come up with a name for our new team and it turned out our coach, a Father Schaum, could be very persuasive. Besides, how do you say no to a Roman collar?

Father Schaum came from Pittsburgh and was an avid Steeler fan – not exactly as avid as you, but who is exactly as avid as you? – and wanted us to call ourselves the St. Mary’s Steelers.

Sounded like a dumb idea at first. I’m not sure any of us could spell “Pittsburgh” and what did steel have to do with our little town? Corn, yes; steel, no.

Then we realized our town was the county seat of Steele County. Talk about an epiphany. Suddenly St. Mary’s Steelers made sense.

(My non-Catholic friends also thought “Steelers” was a great name, especially fitting for a pack of juvenile delinquents like us. But that’s another story.)

You probably know I bleed Green Bay Packer green and, these days, Minnesota Viking purple, but there’s at least a small spot in my heart for Pittsburgh Steeler black and yellow.

And I’m really sorry about that Jaguar thing last Sunday. Maybe next year, huh?

Your humble scribbler, bb.

Contact Bob Bestler at